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Thank You for Not Smoking (In the Movies)

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One of Hollywood’s most iconic movie images is that of a slightly inebriated Rick Blaine slumped over a table. We see a shot glass as Rick smokes, lamenting the fact that “Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine.” The cigarette smoke curls up in the black and white scene, setting the mood of the greatest romantic classic of all times.

Granted, Bogey died of lung cancer at the age of 58, but would the banning of smoking in the movies have prevented his cancer death? My father’s brother died of esophageal cancer at the age of 70. He had never smoked a day in his life. Their cousin died at the age of 60 of lung cancer. He had never smoked a day in his life, either.  Fact is, I know more people who have died of lung cancer who have not smoked than have.

I have never smoked a  cigarette. I never even experimented on them as a kid. I don’t like cigarettes because they smell so vile. Stale cigarette smoke has been known to make me want to barf.  Because of the “sin” taxesI can’t imagine all that money literally going up in smoke. I rather like the idea that smoking is now banned in most bars. There was nothing worse than going in a place and coming out reeking of stale smoke. I don’t mind the ban, except when I go to Tombstone. Then, I want to go in the old saloons and smoke an occasional cigar. (Yes, I like to smoke cigars).

I come from a non-smoking family. Neither set of my grandparents smoked, nor did my parents. My sister and her ex do not smoke, though the ex does do the occasional cigar. When my two nieces and nephew came into the world they were literally indoctrinated about the evils of smoking. They were rather cute telling people who smoked how it was going to kill them. When visiting their grandparents, they were constantly on the case of a friend who smoked. It would kill him.

Fast forward fifteen years. All three smoke. None are compulsive about it, but they do smoke. All the lectures, the brainwashing, the “please don’t smoke” discussions were useless. I have friends who have offspring the same age. None of them smoke. The interesting part of the story is that their parents never bothered with the anti-smoking lessons. They did not smoke, but then as the tail end of the Baby Boom generation, we don’t do a lot of smoking. Our children do. As a whole, the Greatest Generation did a tremendous amount of smoking. 

Maybe smoking is a generational habit. Now kids are smoking. None of the lectures matter. The cautionary tales don’t matter. Neither do those warning labels on cigarettes.  They’ve seen the videos, the Blood on the Highway warnings about how deadly smoking is. Everyone knows the drill, yada, yada, yada. A person is either going to smoke or they aren’t. Peer pressure has more to do with young people’s choices than all the lectures from all of the parents in all of the world.

The CDC, which has evolved from a once great, cutting-edge agency policing the world for such hideous diseases as ebola, Rift Valley fever, and bubonic plague, is now in the movie censorship business. They are now wasting taxpayer money by counting the number of smoking “incidents’ in movies. According to the CDC “top grossing” films depicted 1,935 “incidents” of smoking. In 2005 there were 3,967 such “incidents”.

Evidently, according to the CDC, kids who watch all those top-grossing, 3-D, comic strip movies are the ones most likely to try sneaking a smoke after a movie. Duh! They are kids. They were sneaking cigarettes in the restrooms of the old movie theater in Seneca, South Carolina when I was a kid. Granted Miss Goody Two Shoes  did not, but even my non-smoking mother did the same thing when she was a teen at a movie.

It is called growing up, a rite of passage, and life. No matter how many members of Congress, including Edward J. Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, and Joseph R. Pitts, a Pennsylvania Republican, are going to be able to stop it. Not even the R rating they want on any movie that contains smoking is going to stop it. Not all of the education in all of the world is going to stop it.

It is literally a waste of breath and a waste of money. Then again, that it not what this is all about. Please, find one person in this country who does not know the dangers of smoking and secondhand smoke. I dare you to find just one person who doesn’t. The anti-smoking campaign has been going on as long as I can remember. It has saved lives. Perhaps though the greatest anti-smoking campaign are the high taxes.

This is not about smoking. It is about the constant encroachment of the nanny state into every aspect of our lives. The food police tells us that Chinese food is bad for our health and that we should not eat fried foods. (So does my indigestion). We aren’t to drink soda because of childhood obesity and the threat of diabetes. The nanny state is not going to admit to being the primary cause of childhood obesity. Neither is the Department of Education and their constant demands for better test scores.

Now the nanny state wants to ban images of smoking from the silver screen. Are they going to go into the cutting room and snip that wonderful scene in Now Voyager where Paul Henreid lights two cigarettes in his mouth and hands one to Bette Davis? It was not about smoking. The scene was symbolic for what we did not see on camera. The world has changed. Today it is perfectly acceptable for the film couple to do what was then not seen on camera, but they just can’t smoke afterward.

The next thing you know, they are going to want to ban fat women like your humble correspondent from the silver screen and blame us for society’s ills. Oh, wait, they basically already have.

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About SJ Reidhead

  • Vapor Diva

    I agree with many statements you have written. The gov’t allowed tobacco companies to become one of the 3 biggest industries more than a decade ago. And now we will suffer for it.

    Allowing new products like the Electric Cigarette is helping me and many other people to quit the toxic chemicals they’ve added to tobacco and nicotine.

    It isn’t Kool to smoke anymore, and it’s hell to quit. I explained these things about health and how more costly it will get, nasty habit etc. etc. with my kidz. This did not deter 2 of them who dabble in smoking. It use to be acceptable when I was growing up, like drinking was.

    Now that we’re all wiser, the gov’t needs to help and not line their pockets by big interest companies who fear that people will actually quit smoking.

  • harleyrider1978

    The new Tobacco Prohibition

    I would like to take the time to tell the entire community about a falsehood so big that everyone who believes in freedom should be appauled.
    This falsehood is so big it resonates from historical fact forward to this day. This falsehood is so big billions of dollars have been spent to make it believable to those of us who dont take the time to look up the facts.
    We all remember reading about alcohol prohibition,but did you know there was also tobacco prohibition going on before alcohol became such a target of the last nanny staters.
    Our great grandparents lived thru prohibition and the great depression,they also lived thru tobacco prohibition.

    Heres a time line starting in 1900,dont be surprised to see the same thing playing out today nearly 100 years later.

    1901: REGULATION: Strong anti-cigarette activity in 43 of the 45 states. “Only Wyoming and Louisiana had paid no attention to the cigarette controversy, while the other forty-three states either already had anti-cigarette laws on the books or were considering new or tougher anti-cigarette laws, or were the scenes of heavy anti- cigarette activity” (Dillow, 1981:10).

    1904: New York: A judge sends a woman is sent to jail for 30 days for smoking in front of her children.

    1904: New York City. A woman is arrested for smoking a cigarette in an automobile. “You can’t do that on Fifth Avenue,” the arresting officer says.

    1907: Business owners are refusing to hire smokers. On August 8, the New York Times writes: “Business … is doing what all the anti-cigarette specialists could not do.”

    1917: SMOKEFREE: Tobacco control laws have fallen, including smoking bans in numerous cities, and the states of Arkansas, Iowa, Idaho and Tennessee.

    1937: hitler institutes laws against smoking.This one you can google.

    Now onto the falsehood……

    We have been told for years by smoke free advocates that second hand smoke is the cause of everything from johnnys ear ache to cousin ED’S lung cancer. But wheres the proof!!!

    Remember they claim 50,000 deaths a year yet,there are no bodys not even mass graves of the dead to second hand smoke.We await the names of these victims.

    A simple stroll down historys road say 10 years or so and we start to get at the truth……

    A federal Judge by the name of osteen got a case dropped in his lap in North Carolina,the case was that of EPA’S study on second hand smoke/environmental tobacco smoke.The judge an anti-tobbaco judge by reputation spent 4 years going thru the study and interviewing scientists at EPA and came to the conclusion :


    ”EPA’s 1992 conclusions are not supported by reliable scientific evidence. The report has been largely discredited and, in 1998, was legally vacated by a federal judge.Before its 1992 report, EPA had always used epidemiology’s gold standard CI of 95 percent to measure statistical significance. But because the U.S. studies chosen[cherry picked] for the report were not statistically significant within a 95 percent CI, for the first time in its history EPA changed the rules and used a 90 percent CI, which doubled the chance of being wrong.

    This allowed it to report a statistically significant 19 percent increase [a 1.19rr] of lung cancer cases in the nonsmoking spouses of smokers over those cases found in nonsmoking spouses of nonsmokers. Even though the RR was only 1.19–an amount far short of what is normally required to demonstrate correlation or causality–the agency concluded this was proof SHS increased the risk of U.S. nonsmokers developing lung cancer by 19 percent.”

    The EPA fought to have Osteen’s decision overturned on technical grounds, ignoring the multitude of facts in the decision. They succeeded in 2002 on the narrowest of technicalities. The fourth circuit court of appeals ruled that because the report was not an official policy document Osteen’s court did not have jurisdiction. In their appeal the EPA did not answer a single criticism in the 92 page report, nor challenge a single fact put forth by Judge Osteen. Not one.

    Although the anti-smoker movement was already established, this report was used, and continues to be used, to bolster their claim that SHS is a killer.
    http://knol.google.com/k/second-hand-smoke #

    So here we find that second hand smoke was made a political scapegoat by EPA.Lets not forget how EPA has reworked the global warming studys just this last summer. Where its top scientists paper was rebuked because it didnt carry the EPA’S stand that global warming was real.

    The political shenanigans surrounding SHS/ETS go deep not only with the government and its health agencies but also to the big pharmaceutical companies and non-profit orginizations aka ACS,ALA,AHA and a meriad of others. All lobbying for smoking bans and their weapon of choise Propaganda paid for by big pharma and tax dollars. Studys made to order that second hand smoke is deadly. Take a memory note here too,over 250 studys on shs/ets have found it safe.

    Yet a simple look at the chemistry shows us that its:

    About 90% of secondary smoke is composed of water vapor and ordinary air with a minor amount of carbon dioxide. The volume of water vapor of second hand smoke becomes even larger as it qickly disperses into the air,depending upon the humidity factors within a set location indoors or outdoors. Exhaled smoke from a smoker will provide 20% more water vapor to the smoke as it exists the smokers mouth.

    4 % is carbon monoxide.

    6 % is those supposed 4,000 chemicals to be found in tobacco smoke. Unfortunatley for the smoke free advocates these supposed chemicals are more theorized than actually found.What is found is so small to even call them threats to humans is beyond belief.Nanograms,picograms and femptograms……
    (1989 Report of the Surgeon General p. 80).

    Now, how odd that when we search the smoke free activists sites not one of them mentions that water vapor and air are the main components of second hand smoke. Is this just a fluke or an outright omission to further their political healthscare against the general public.

    The last informative tid bit I have for you is what does OSHA have to say about all this secondhand smoke stuff.

    Here is where it gets interesting,it seems John Banzhaf, founder and president of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) decided to sue OSHA to make a rule on shs/ets not that OSHA didnt want to play ball with him,its just that the scientific facts didnt back up a rule to start with.

    Now for a rule to happen Osha has to send out for comments for a period of time and boy did the comments fly in, over 40,000 of them….Osha has whats called PEL’S and limits for an 8 hour period of exposure to chemicals in indoor environments…[epa is in charge of outdoor air]some smoke free groups have tried to use 30 minute air samples using epa monitoring to create a air borne healthscare.

    The actual standard to use is OSHA’S

    The EPA standard is to be used for OUTSIDE ambient air quality and it is the average over a period of 3 years.

    The proper standard to compare to is the OSHA standard for indoor air quality for respirable particulate (not otherwise specified) for nuisance dusts and smoke. That standard is 5000 ug/m3 on a time-weighted average (8 hours a day, 5 days a week) and is intended to be protective of health over an average working life of 30 years!

    This is where second hand smoke really becomes a joke,remember its nearly 90% water vapor and air…..now lets get to the facts of toxicology and dose makes the poison:

    According to independent Public and Health Policy Research group, Littlewood & Fennel of Austin, Tx, on the subject of secondhand smoke……..

    They did the figures for what it takes to meet all of OSHA’S minimum PEL’S on shs/ets…….Did it ever set the debate on fire.

    They concluded that:

    All this is in a small sealed room 9×20 and must occur in ONE HOUR.

    For Benzo[a]pyrene, 222,000 cigarettes

    “For Acetone, 118,000 cigarettes

    “Toluene would require 50,000 packs of simultaneously smoldering cigarettes.

    Acetaldehyde or Hydrazine, more than 14,000 smokers would need to light up.

    “For Hydroquinone, “only” 1250 cigarettes

    For arsenic 2 million 500,000 smokers at one time

    The same number of cigarettes required for the other so called chemicals in shs/ets will have the same outcomes.

    So,OSHA finally makes a statement on shs/ets :

    Field studies of environmental tobacco smoke indicate that under normal conditions, the components in tobacco smoke are diluted below existing Permissible Exposure Levels (PELS.) as referenced in the Air Contaminant Standard (29 CFR 1910.1000)…It would be very rare to find a workplace with so much smoking that any individual PEL would be exceeded.” -Letter From Greg Watchman, Acting Sec’y, OSHA, To Leroy J Pletten, PHD, July 8, 1997


    By the way ASH dropped their lawsuit because OSHA was going to make a rule and that rule would have been weak and been the law of the land,meaning no smoking bans would ever have been enacted anywhere,simply because an open window or a ventilation system would have covered the rule.

    Let me also tell you that the relative risk for shs/ets by the SG report of 2006 was a 1.19 ”EPA study is whats used to call it a carcinogen”……milks is a 2.43 and that glass of chlorinated water your about to drink is a 1.25 yet these things aren’t determined to be a carcinogen….The gold standard in epidemiology is a 3.0….Now had the SURGEON GENERAL included 2 other shs/ets studys the relative risk for disease from shs/ets would have been nearer a.60-.70 meaning it would have a protective effect against ever getting disease.

    But,what each of us has is years and years of exposure and the knowledge that our kids all grew up around shs and generations of others,yet we are here alive not dead from a lousy 30 minute exposure to shs as stanton glantz tries to claim…..thats another story and its just as crazy as all the rest of smokefree’s claim about shs/ets.

    Oh! have you heard the one about ”laugh” thirdhand smoke or third hand drinking.
    Like I said their claims border beyond that of any reasonable persons commomsence.

    The next time you see a healthscare claim
    consider the source.Especially if it comes from a government or non profit agency!

  • Why is this article in politics? There are references to a sin tax and the CDC, but really it’s about RJ’s declaration that cigarettes smell bad so she doesn’t want anyone to smoke, while telling us that, she smokes cigars!

    double standard eh?

  • Les Slater

    harleyrider1978 sounds too close to tobacco industry propaganda. The products of this industry are addictive and they have acted to maximize this addiction, including whatever they could get away with getting young people hooked. The product is not healthy to those smoking and second hand smoke, whether it can be proved to cause permanent damage, is an irritant that does cause REAL symptoms.

    The primary resistance to reducing consumption comes from the enormous power of the profits from this industry. We shouldn’t have to pay with our health for this industry’s need to make a profit.

  • I smoke one or two cigars a year, while I am in Tombstone. I stay at the Larian Motel, and have a no smoking room, so I sit on the porch and smoke with a friend. That’s not a heck of a lot of smoking. And – cigars smell much different than cigarettes. That’s it. When the CDC takes over something and two congressmen are working to get new motion picture ratings, that’s political.

    The Pink Flamingo

  • Sorry SJR,

    I really didn’t expect you to respond to this hastily written comment.


    Your right, this is political.

  • It is indicative of how badly the “powers that be” wish to control our lives. I was reading somewhere that there is a move afoot to force dogs to be either tethered or in a doggie car seat while riding in a vehicle.

    The idiots who have come up with this obviously do not know how dangerous it can be to have a dog tethered or leashed in a car. It is deadly.

    There is a fear that when a car is hit, and the airbags explode, a dog can hit the airbags and cause further damage to the passengers.

    Because of airbags small children must be put in the back seat. Car seats must be in the back. I was watching a PSA the other day about forgetting that the baby is in the back of the car, and leaving them in it to die. If the blasted air bags had not been in the front seat, the baby could be on the front seat.

    It is like a Nanny State chain reaction. If you are a short person, air bags can be quite lethal. But – it is all about big government protecting us all.

    Reminds me of the reaction against certain oils, now NYC must use certain things for frying, including sunflower seed oil. There has been a fast-food chain reaction to convert to sunflower seed oil. Lays uses it. I am deathly allergic to sunflower products. So much for fast food (which I never ate anyway) and chips.

    It is starting to get old, fast.

    The Pink Flamingo

  • Good to see you back in circulation, SJ.

    Must have been busy with your book.

  • SJR,

    What is meant by, “Powers that be” ?

    If we left, “private industry” to regulate themselves, I doubt that we would have the level of product safety that we have today.

  • Hello!

    The book has gone from being sworn at as the blasted book to the durn book. It is far enough along that a copy was sent for the foreword. I’m very pleased with that part of it, as well as some of the early comments.

    It seems to be taking forever. I’ve discovered that no one has done much work along the premise I am using, so finding resource material is a pain. It is getting there – slowly.

    Thanks for asking!

    The Pink Flamingo

  • What’s the name of the book?

  • Cannonshop

    #9 It’s not about having REGULATION, Jeannie, it’s about how MUCH regulation is the right amount, and about where you stop adding more on top of what you already have, and whether or not the science backing some regulations is sound.

    So…let’s turn the question back on you, Jeannie: at what aspect of YOUR life, does Uncle Sam have no place in telling you what you can see, hear, own, buy, sell, or make?

    At what point does Jeannie Danna feel that government goes too far/could go too far/may go too far?

    You can literally justify ANYTHING, if you parse the logic hard enough, Jeannie, so at what point is ENOUGH regulation for you?

  • What would answering this comment accomplish?

    absolutely nothing

    Whenever I do give “time and energy” to ,Mr. Cannonshop, I discover that he has already moved on to his next target.

    And, about not wanting any regulations in your so called free market world. Regulations and laws are a part of this society. Get the fuck out if it’s sooooo bad here.

  • #13 was totally directed at Cannonshop, SJR.

    In fact, I’ll comment to you before I ever give that misogynistic pixel one more key-stroke!

    Yes, too much of anything can be bad.

  • Cannonshop,

    I apologize for #14. It was wrong to call you that name, and I also hope that a comments editor will come along and edit it.

    : ( I’m in a really bad on-line mood, bye!

  • Cannonshop

    #15 Jeannie, I’ve been called worse by people I respect less. But you still didn’t answer the question-which I believe goes to the core of the issue SJ brings up:

    “How much is Enough?” Is it really the place of the Government to tell Americans that they can’t watch some overpaid actor puff on a prop cigarette in a period-piece WWII movie if they’re under 17?

    IS that really what we need from our Federal Government, or would the energies better be spent on existing problems such as enforcing antitrust laws that already exist (but are not, and have not been, enforced through most of our lifetimes?), maintaining highways we all pay for, assuring that the military is capable of defending our citizens at home (and our national interests abroad), inspecting airliners and enforcing air-transport regulations, maintaining ports, bridges, and flood-controls on the Mississippi, cleaning up the beaches in the gulf, repairing federal infrastructures like major dams and waterways, and putting people like Bernie Madoff (who’re hurting americans they have no contact with personally just by continuing to break the law), and other ‘maintenance’ tasks (why is the CDC working on this, instead of the problem of fighting Antibiotic resistant strains of known killer diseases?)

    I would submit to you, that the micromanagement of personal vice is not the proper place for the Federal Government, nor is the micromanagement of movies and their content, micromanagement of political or cultural blogs, micromanagement of music, nor micromanagement of people’s sexual or marital behaviours and choices.

    This is NOT a “Christian” Country, this is a Western country, founded on the ideas of the Age of Reason. That some ideas cross borders between certain forms of Christian thought and the use of Reason or Rationalism has more to do with some ideas being good ideas no matter who has them, including the idea that the State does not, and can not, offer a viable solution to every social or societal problem.

  • Donna:

    The book is titled “Wild West Redressed: American Fashion 1860-1910 in Photos”. It is a pain, but a heck of a lot of fun. It is a change of pace. I can’t believe how much I’ve learned in the process.

    I started out to prove that some friends were wrong about something. Turned out I was wrong. The process was so fascinating, I just decided to write about it. I never expected to find what I have found. It has turned into this strange sociological study of what real people actually wore.

    The way we look at “cowboy” and their costume is a Hollywood creation. I am complaining about the project, but it is a blast! I have nearly 1900 never before published photos in the book. Just the process of scanning and inserting the photos into the manuscript has taken a year.

    Thanks for asking!

    The Pink Flamingo

  • Cannonshop,

    Of course I don’t want the government in every faze of my walking life, oh that’s right they already were when Obama took office, You know I didn’t know you then…What was your major complaint?

    :)you won.

  • That sounds like a beautiful book, SJR

    Coffee table layout? I will buy it someday and tell people how I bantered back and forth with you in the threads!

    : )Your right, the CDC should be concerned with more important things, like E-Bola!

  • We are working on the layout and the binding. Thanks!

    I guess I just lost it when I heard that the CDC was tracking “incidents” of smoking in movies. What about the bed-bug infestation in NYC? Why not track that?

    The Pink Flamingo

  • Cannonshop

    #18 Jeannie, if you don’t, then you should consider being more pro-active about saying ‘no’ now. What seems ‘reasonable’ over time tends to creep further and further in-people tend not to miss freedoms they never had, after all.

    The only way GET those freedoms restored, is to actively oppose the growth of intrusions that ‘reasonably’ restrict more and more tightly, usually with bribes such as offers of programmes to ‘help you’ in exchange for your giving up more and more of your decision making power, or (only slightly more odious) “reasonable restrictions” driven by a desire to “Protect Children” from images, ideas, and product-adverts that may adversely affect them. (i.e. restrictions on advertising, restricting what products can be seen on-screen, censorship, etc. etc.)

    The people who promote the kind of restrictions SJ’s writing about in this article see YOU as “The Children”, and we both know you’re an adult and have been for some time now-it’s the attitude involved that is the problem.

    (and will continue to be the problem all the way down the line!)

    Good intentions are not sufficient reason to invest trust or power in someone who is asking you to invest those things, or someone who assumes they can simply exercise those things because they feel (rightly or not) that their way is the better way.

    Whether it’s from a Falwellite preacher, or an Alinskyite Activist, the grasping for power must be recognized for what it is, and resisted-because if it is not, if your congresscritter only hears from those who would sacrifice liberty for the illusion of safety or order…well, that’s what is going to happen, isn’t it? (it may sTILL happen-as with the PATRIOT act, Obamacare, TARP, and the Bank Bailouts), but acceptance leads more surely to Serfdom than Argument does.

  • Cannonshop,

    Weare the government.

    The Health Care Reform bill, became health insurance reform, was compromised by special interests, Dinos, Republicans…
    and even after losing the public optionthis time we still gained more than we lost.

    No-preexisting condition exclusions and family coverage until 26 years of age…and many more wins.

    I was for the stimulus. In fact, the stimulus package was actually too small according to, two leading economists, Paul Krugman and Warren Buffett.

    I was against TARP and the Bank bail-outs, and very against the Patriot Act.

    The fact remains, this country needs regulations and a moral code that gives everyone basic rights.

    an Alinskyite Activist?

  • SJR,

    I thought of your article today, while they showed the newest affront to our food chain…I’m buying eggs down the road from us for the rest of my life or until I forget how scared I am of big farms right this moment.

    So, here on CNN,The FDA Chief, talks about not having the power to recall or track food hazards in the chain back to it’s source!

    Do you see why I advocate government regulations?

  • Cannonshop

    #23 Jeannie, do have any idea what kind of scale you’re alluding to? wait, scratch that, you’re demonstrating exactly where you fall in the question “How much is ENOUGH?”-and the answer comes down to “There is no limit.”

    The problem isn’t one of regulatory power, it’s a matter of straight mechanics. It’s like disarming a city-sure, you can do it, and protect the citizens-if you have three cops for every citizen. Same scale, different cosmetics here.

  • Cannonshop,

    This debate is absurd. Why are you against food safety?

    No, it’s not over-kill to want to restore power back to the FDA. I’m going to go find another link proving this point.

    : O Want some eggs? hey wait a minute…why are you running away from me! LOL

  • Jordan Richardson

    Why are you against food safety?

    Because his “free market” brainwashing outweighs his common sense and general concern for others, that’s why.

  • Clavos

    So would you agree that the FDA should force the fast food restaurants to reduce the unhealthy elements in their wares? If so, should we shut down bars? After all, what they sell has NO redeeming qualities — it’s ONLY unhealthy.

    What about the foods people cook and eat at home? Should the FDA regulate and control them too?

    If my doctor prescribes a medicine for me, and I choose not to take it (as I do now, in one instance), should the government be empowered to force me to take it, assuming the doc is correct in prescribing it to me? What about the opposite situation? If my doctor and I agree that, for me, the benefits of a medicine outweigh its potential for killing me, should I be able to buy and take it, even though the FDA considers it to be dangerous and takes it off the market? This is a case in point for me, in which both my doctor and I believe I should be taking a med the FDA has forced off the market, so I have to buy it in another country.

    At what point, if any, should people be responsible for themselves, and should the government step back and allow them to do so?

  • Jordan Richardson

    Clavos, would it be fair to say that you’d be against the banning of trans fats in Canada, Denmark and Sweden? Or is there a point at which some regulation from a governing body has a place in ensuring the public health?

  • Clavos,

    If they found out that tainted pharmaceuticals were introduced into your prescription, poisoning you, I bet you would want the FDA to have not only the power to find out who did this but to prosecute them to the letter of the law…wouldn’t you agree?

  • Jordan, You are absolutely right, free market brainwashing is ruining us!

  • Clavos


    Not sure I understand your question, but no, I wouldn’t be, simply because I don’t consider the internal policies of other country’s governments (short of genocide or even persecution of their own people) to be my or my country’s business.

  • Clavos


    The FDA DID find out that a medicine my doctor and I want me to take has a high potential of killing me, so they took it off the market. Both my doctor and I agree that it’s worth the risk for me to take it anyway, but I no longer have that option, because the government wants to “protect” me, even when I disagree with it. I consider that to be an infringement of my rights, and that I should have the power to make that decision for myself, without interference from the FDA or any other government agency. I don’t need a nanny anymore, I outgrew my nanny when I was about 6 or 7 years old.

    And it has nothing to do with “free market brainwashing,” it concerns my right, as an intelligent and responsible adult citizen, to make my own decisions rather than having them imposed on me.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Sorry, Clavos, was more of a general question.

    If your government elected to ban or heavily regulate trans fat, what would your opinion be?

  • Clavos

    Jordan (#33),

    My opinion is that they have no business doing so. If I choose to kill myself eating nothing but Mickey D’s hamburgers, that’s my business and nobody else’s.

    That said, I do support the government requiring Mickey D’s to inform me of the nature and dangers of eating their product, much as they already do with cigarettes, but what I do with that information is not, IMO, within their purview.

  • If people have been “free-market brainwashed,” they need to be re-educated.

    Isn’t the well-being of the populace in general a desirable objective for any society? Isn’t a society’s human resource one of it’s most important resources?

    If people engage in self-destructive behavior, there usually is a reason (barring idiosyncratic, personal characteristics), there usually is a reason.

    As an aside – what of the social and financial cost resulting from unhealthy lifestyles? To say that the pharmaceuticals and our health industry profit handsomely under those conditions is a poor argument indeed in support of the profit motive for those industries; it’s deranged thinking, in fact.

    A society should be able to assess the magnitude of social costs involved other than in terms of how much profit is raked by the Big Business. That’s a wrong kind of offset.

  • Clavos

    As an aside – what of the social and financial cost resulting from unhealthy lifestyles?

    A long familiar liberal argument for endowing the government with ever more power over the citizens.

    I say, what of it? If, Roger, you prefer to live in a society in which all your freedom to think for yourself is a fair exchange for limiting others’ potential for generating “social and financial” costs to society, then obviously, such concerns are of greater importance to you than your personal freedom to act responsibly without being coerced to do so.

    I don’t agree, especially when, as in my example of the medicine my doctor and I both want access to, government regulation closes doors.

  • No, I wouldn’t prefer to live in that kind of society, going without saying.

    Still, you missed the conditional, Clavos, “people having been brainwashed.” So this is neither a typical “liberal argument” – it isn’t me, remember – nor is it a matter of either-or.

    It’s precisely the conditional which is the crux of my argument, a point about which we apparently disagree. (I submit that America had turned many adults into children, so until they come of age, we need to treat them as children.)

    For surely, we don’t disagree about social benefits that would accrue from healthy and responsible lifestyles.

    (In a way, I view this as an extension of your discussion with Mark on the other thread.)

  • Jordan Richardson

    See, Clavos, this interests me. From what I could tell, there was little mainstream opposition to the trans fat ban in my province. No protests of any meaningful kind and few groups took it to mean a stripping away of the ability to think for oneself.

    In fact, most residents took it as a positive thing and as a sign of progress. It was like the idea of no longer using asbestos, as new knowledge gave rise to action to support the health and welfare of Canadians.

    It causes me to wonder if our definitions of liberty and freedom are vastly different and if, by extension, our societies are “less free” because of these sorts of regulations. Are Canadians, Swedes, Danes, etc. “less free” because we can’t get our hands on unsaturated fat with trans-isomer fatty acids? Or is the scientific knowledge we now have, that our bodies can’t properly metabolize or get rid of trans fat, something to be used for the common good?

    You and many other Americans see such moves as a function of “the nanny state,” whereas most Canadians, Swedes, Danes, etc. see it as a sign of progress.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Or, as another example, what about mandatory physical activity in grade schools? Is this a violation of freedom?

  • Roger,

    Special interests have turned America into a nation of powerless people; how are they going to come of age?

  • Cannonshop

    HOw can you restore powers that never existed, Jeannie? Capabilities we still don’t have?

  • Cannonshop,

    We have the capabilities to track every penny on earth, but we can’t track our own food sources and what is being added to them?


  • Clavos


    Without a definition of what constitutes “free market brainwash[ing],” I can’t address whether or not we are victims of it. I insist, however,tast the “benefit” to society you mention, that of “the well-being of the populace in general a desirable objective for any society” can be achieved without governmental coercion. The solution that immediately comes to mind is better education of the populace in this regard. Unfortunately, liberals, the principal proponents of “nanny state” measures, do not share my faith in the ability of the general populace to act in a rational manner on their own.

    You say, “(I submit that America had turned many adults into children…” Here, I am in absolute agreement with you as to the fact. I suspect however, that we don’t agree as to WHY this is so; I contend that it is precisely this tendency on the part of the government to act as nanny to the people that results in the unintended consequence of relieving the citizenry of any responsibility to think and act in their own behalf, ultimately turning them into “children.” Further, additional efforts to advance this cause (banning trans fats, for example) serve to perpetuate and exacerbate this phenomenon.

    In a way, I view this as an extension of your discussion with Mark on the other thread.

    I agree. The two discussions are definitely peripheral to each other.

  • Clavos

    My last point in #43 should have said tangential, not peripheral.

  • The “ rejecting of free-market capitalism.

    We have all abused capitalism and now it will crash!

  • gene

    Harleyrider1978 posts his boilerplate–which often includes copyright violations, as here– all over the internet. Google him.

  • FilmEcon101

    Interested in history, like this blogger? Tobacco industry documents discovered in the course of lawsuits show that Hollywood studios and stars have collaborated commercially with tobacco companies for decades.

    Example: Now, Voyager. Both Bette Davis and Paul Henreid had endorsement contracts with tobacco companies. Chesterfield suggested in its commercials with Henreid that the brand was used in the two-on-a-match scene, itself a bit of business recycled from an earlier Davis film. The studios in Hollywood’s Golden Age benefitted from these deals by having their national print and radio advertising paid for by the tobacco companies.

    When the CDC report was published on August 20, several web outlets illustrated the story with scenes of Bogart and Bacall smoking. Both actors had endorsement contracts with American Tobacco (Lucky Strike), not mentioned in the reporting.

    Independent researchers have established that exposure to smoking in movies sells smoking and cigarettes. This simply confirms what the tobacco companies have known all along. They have invested millions in cross-promotion and product placement, and misled the public and regulators about it.

    The “R” is a measure to reduce the film industry’s marketing value to the tobacco industry. It would apply only to future films. It would give producers and studios a market incentive to leave smoking out of the films young people see most, just as they now routinely calibrate language, sex and violence for desired ratings. The “R” would not “ban” smoking in any film. Finally, the “R” is voluntary self-regulation; the government has nothing to do with it.

    For history, science and policy on this issue, a good place to start is this University of California, San Francisco (medical school) web site: http://www.smokefreemovies.ucsf.edu.